I am taking the author at his word that it is okay to reproduce this in full. I think it adds a little more much-needed context to my previous post. I added some links but did not edit it.
* Everyone, please post this on the pages of your male Facebook friends, because I want as many men as possible to read this essay.
A Husband Shoots Wife on Brooklyn Street as a Community Watches
By Byron Hurt
On Tuesday, September 1, I spoke to more than 2000 incoming freshman students at Montclair State University in New Jersey. The Department of Student Development and Campus Life invited me to campus to show clips from my documentary film, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, and address the issue of men's physical and sexual violence against women as part of their New Student orientation. In my speech, I spoke about the urgent need for men to act as proactive bystanders in the face of such violence.
As I spoke to the students about gender-based violence in north Jersey, in Brooklyn, NY, Lenox Ramsey, 25, taunted, chased, and then finally shot his wife, Kaidan Ramsey, 22, in broad daylight near Brooklyn's Medgar Evers College. Surveillance tapes show a terrified Kaidan running for her life as people on the street watched, doing nothing.
Our communities cannot remain silent and tolerate this kind of violence. We must speak up loudly and boldly when men physically or sexually assault women. We also need to ramp up efforts to educate boys and men about patriarchy, sexism, male privilege, and how men's violence against women is ultimately about men maintaining power and control over female bodies.
This has to stop. Men's violence against women is pervasive worldwide, and we can no longer deflect this issue onto women as if they are the cause of the problem and should fix it by themselves. Each day, new stories emerge about men who abduct, rape, beat, harass, and kill women. We do not need any more statistics or empirical data to prove or legitimize that men's violence against women is a real problem. It is real, and it happens each and every day, all over the world.
Men, we cannot be silent anymore. Non-abusive men who respect women and who disrespect men that abuse women have to speak up when incidents like this occur. You do not have to be an expert or know the latest statistics. All you have to do is care, have courage, be a leader, and speak up in defense of the women you love. (Read Jackson Katz' Ten Things Men Can Do to Prevent Gender Violence at www.jacksonkatz.com)
Through my filmmaking, writing, and community outreach, I will continue to do all that I can to ally with women and educate as many non-abusive men as humanly possible. By simply raising our voices, men and women can use our influence to collectively send the message to other men that the abuse of women is not cool and should not be respected within our communities.
If you have a mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, aunt, or female friend that you love and care about, then you should be an advocate for them and tune in to the issues that affect them daily.
Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, a published writer, and an anti-sexist activist. Visit his website, www.bhurt.com.
Feel free to cut and paste my statement and forward widely along with the link to the article and disturbing video footage of the shooting. I also recommend that you google, buy, and read these five books to learn more about what we as men can do to help end violence against women:
• The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help, by Jackson Katz
• Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power, edited by Shira Tarrant
• The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life
• NewBlackMan, by Mark Anthony Neal
• The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, by bell hooks
On a somewhat related matter, what a disgraceful display that was the other night when Chris Brown appeared on CNN's Larry King Live. If you have the stomach for it, there's a satiric take here. Frankly, I think there's been enough joking about the subject.
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: Hurt's Facebook note has attracted many comments, including some on the problem of intervening when somebody has a gun -- and you don't.
Accordingly, he has rewritten part of his note. Here is an excerpt:
As a man, I know how easy it is look the other way and ignore male abusive behavior when it happens, especially when it happens publicly. I’ve been in situations like this and I know how paralyzing one can feel – not knowing exactly what to do. I have been in situations where I have failed to act and remember feeling horrible for lacking the courage to raise my voice. I have also been in situations when I have acted, and fellas, it’s not as difficult or scary as you might imagine.
I understand the fear people feel when faced with intervening when a man is abusing a woman on a busy street. We are afraid the abuser will turn his rage onto us. This fear is real and has to be acknowledged. But as a community, we cannot remain silent and tolerate this kind of violence. We must speak up loudly and boldly when men physically or sexually assault women. Honk your car horn, yell and shout, call 911, or try to somehow distract the abuser from attacking his victim - even if it is for an instant. But please, do not remain silent. Help the woman out. Please understand that I am not suggesting that you jump in front of a bullet to save someone’s life. You must be street smart and use wise judgment at all times. I am, however, suggesting that you do something as opposed to doing nothing at all. At the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror knowing that we did the right thing when it mattered most to someone else.